Alarming Lack of Leadership

Cllr Ken Reed (Cranleigh) piece in this month's Cranleigh Challenger

“Waverley Council is no longer a nice place to work and the wrong people are in the wrong jobs. Very little has been achieved during the last four years and on the contrary the Council has shown an alarming lack of leadership in progressing its Local Plan development blueprint.”

The above quote, reported in the Farnham Herald, comes from Cllr Roger Steel, Conservative Councillor for Farnham Moor Park

“Waverley Council is no longer a nice place to work and the wrong people are in the wrong jobs. Very little has been achieved during the last four years and on the contrary the Council has shown an alarming lack of leadership in progressing its Local Plan development blueprint.”

The above quote, reported in the Farnham Herald, comes from Cllr Roger Steel, Conservative Councillor for Farnham Moor Park and a former Waverley Executive Member. In the same report he also said, “I’ve fought a losing battle for Farnham for a long time and feel like I’m knocking my head on a brick wall.” He seems so disenchanted with the Conservative

Administration’s failure to act in the best interests of the people of Waverley over the last four years that he has now turned down the chance to stand for a further term ahead of this May’s Borough Council election.

Cllr Steel’s comments echo what I have been writing here over the last eighteen months and as a man of honour, he is clearly saying enough is enough. What a pity that the Conservative Councillors representing our area have not followed his example to protest at Waverley’s targeting of inappropriate development to our villages, especially Cranleigh, as Cllr Steel has done for Farnham.

Every one of our Conservative Borough Councillors refused to sign the ‘Stop Expansion into Cranleigh’s Greenfield Sites’ petition which was presented to the Council last year by local residents. The petition contained the signatures of more than 1400 local people which included mine, my wife Ruth and our Lib Dem Cranleigh Parish Council colleague Richard Cole. It comes as no surprise that the Conservative Administration at Waverley have ignored the petition which called for development in the new Local Plan to be directed to brownfield sites first; our local Borough Councillors have ignored the petition and have behaved as if it had never existed.

Shortly after the current Government was elected in May 2010 all Local Authorities were advised that they would be responsible for identifying the need for new homes in their area. Having identified that need each council is required, within the terms of the Localism Act, to put a local development plan in place that shows how the authority will meet that need.

Three years ago, in March 2012, the Government published the National Planning Policy Framework; this framework provides the national policies with which each council’s plan must be compliant. Since then a report, published by the Government in December 2014, stated that as at the end of October 2014 a total of 59% of councils in England had published local plans to be used by those authorities in the determination of planning applications in their area.